Skip to main content

Full text of "[untitled] The American Historical Review, (1899-12-01), pages 349-351"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



Weber : The Growth of Cities 349 

efforts to realize the Divine in himself lead on a strangely exact parallel 
line to the mysticism of the European " friends of God," but that the 
man is genuine, that his thoughts and teachings have searched out some 
of the innermost recesses of religious consciousness no one will doubt 
after reading the book. "As a lamp does not burn without oil, so a 
man cannot live without God," this is the key-note. And the Vedantic 
road of reaching the knowledge of the ' ' True ' ' by devotion to it and 
forgetfulness of the world is pointed out with every resource of argument 
and wise saw : " She who has a king for her lover will not accept the 
homage of a street beggar. So the soul that has once found favor in the 
sight of the Lord does not want the paltry things of this world." Mys- 
tic that he is, Ramakrishna is at the same time a man of the people ; his 
sayings often have a homely, almost drastic flavor: "Man is like a 
pillow-case. The color of one may be red, another blue, another black, 
but all contain the same cotton. So it is with man — one is beauti- 
ful, one is black, another is holy, a fourth wicked, but the Divine dwells 
in them all." Above everything what shall we say of the liberality of 
mind of this dark-skinned teacher of Bengal who accepts the utmost con- 
sequences of his own belief in the Divine unity ? Every man, he says, 
should follow his own religion. A Christian should follow Christianity, 
and so on. For the Hindu the ancient path of the Aryan poet-sages is 
the best : " It is one and the same Avatara (divine descent) that, hav- 
ing plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as 
Krishna, and diving again rises in another place and is known as Christ. ' ' 
The past of India, not at all inglorious, may yet be followed by a more 
glorious future. 

Maurice Bloomfield. 

The Growth of Cities in the Nineteenth Century ; A Study in Sta- 
tistics. By Adna Ferrin Weber, Ph.D. [Columbia Univer- 
sity Studies in Histoiy, Economics and Public Law, Vol. XL] 
(New York : The Macmillan Co. 1899. Pp. xvi, 495.) 
The work which has resulted in this book began in Berlin, where 
Mr. Weber was studying on the Andrew D. White Fellowship, and was 
prosecuted for months with the aid of the wealth of material in the 
library of the Prussian Statistical Bureau. Later the study was presented 
in this country as a doctor's thesis and has been amplified and somewhat 
popularized for a wider public. Its theme is, first, the dependence of 
the growth of cities, /. e., compact groups of homes and work -places, 
upon the industrial organization and the occupations of the people (p. 
314), secondly, a statement of such characteristics of city populations 
and city growth as have been statistically measured, and, thirdly, a dis- 
cussion of the causes and effects of such concentration of population. 

The book may be dissected into two main parts, that intended for 
the specialist and predominantly statistical, and that intended for the 
general reader and less bristling with figures. The latter includes a 



350 Reviews of Books 

chapter on the causes of the growth of cities (HI.), another on the 
effects (VIII.), and a final chapter on tendencies and remedies, in all 
nearly a third of the volume. 

The method applied, especially .to the first and second topics, is the 
statistical, and in the care and skill with which it is used and in the wide 
sweep of the figures embracing nearly all civilized countries lie the main 
merits of the work. The theme is a familiar, not to say a hackneyed, 
one, but never before, at least in English, have methods of comparison 
and statistical induction been so systematically applied to it. Even in the 
simplest subjects, the field of international statistical comparisons is strewn 
with pitfalls wherein many an unwary novice has fallen. Most painstak- 
ing efforts and constant alertness are needed to avoid unsound inferences. 
In this book the necessary pains have been bestowed. Thus my eye 
looking at random over the pages lights upon a table (p. 266) showing 
for certain classes of cities in Austria, Germany, Scotland and the United 
States the proportions of the people born in the city, immediately about 
it, elsewhere in the country, or abroad. It is explained in a footnote 
that the immediately surrounding country comprises the Gebietstheile 
(provinces, etc.) in Germany, the Land or province in Austria, the 
native county or border counties in Scotland, the state or commonwealth 
in America. Work done after such a fashion will not need to be repeated. 
The thoroughness and breadth of its statistical method then deserve un- 
grudging praise. 

In a study such as that of Dr. Weber, and in nearly all statistical 
work, the definition of fundamental terms is of primary importance. 
What is a city ? Not a place surrounded by walls, for few cities now 
have walls. Not a place holding a special charter of incorporation, for 
this varies with local custom. Not a place calling itself a city, for the 
word in local use has no fixed meaning. There are many " cities " in 
the United States of less than five hundred inhabitants. The definition 
that Dr. Weber accepts, following the best statistical authority, is that, 
for statistical purposes, a city is a place having more than 10,000 in- 
habitants. 

This definition was the best possible basis for the work he had in 
hand, but it seems probable that modern statistics is slowly feeling its 
way toward a better one. For the definition makes no limitations upon 
the area of the place beyond that implied in the fact that it is governed 
as a territorial unit. Thus under this definition, Greenwich, Connecticut, 
in which 10,131 people reside on forty-nine square miles, is a city, while 
Montclair, New Jersey, in which 8,656 people reside on six square miles, 
is not a city. Yet if in the two cases the population is distributed with 
equal evenness, it is clear that the urban characteristics of Montclair 
must be better defined than those of Greenwich. As the modern census 
finds it impossible to do what Dr. Weber not unnaturally desires (p. 17), 
viz. to report separately the population of areas not defined by public 
acts like charters, it seems not improbable that the difficulty just outlined 
will lead ultimately to a statement by census authorities of area, popu- 



McLaughlin: History of the American Nation 351 

lation and density, side by side. In that case the line between urban 
and rural population could be drawn on the basis, not of actual popula- 
tion, but of population to a unit of area. Dr. Weber's objection (p. 10) 
that in such a case a group of farmers' houses crowded together like a 
German Dorf would be classed as a city is sufficiently met, I think, by 
saying that the area of such a village apart from the farms would seldom, 
if ever, be given separately and hence its density of population could not 
be reported. If this is not a complete reply, it might be found best to 
define a city for statistical purposes, by stating both a minimum popula- 
tion and a minimum density, but I am disposed to believe that the more 
significant criterion is density. 

The great difficulty with all such statistical works as the present is 
that they are not strictly speaking books. A book is a work of art, it 
has unity and progress. The selection and rejection of material is 
guided by a consideration of the end which the material serves. That a 
man uses tables to further his argument in no wise relieves him from his 
obligations to his readers. On the contrary, he is all the more bound to 
grip and hold their attention, because his tables tend to shake it, in the 
same way that a lecturer who uses lantern illustrations may be less fin- 
ished and careful in his writing or speaking, because of the aid the pic- 
tures furnish him. Only a few statistical writings can stand such a test \ 
one thinks, for example, of certain speeches of Burke, or Gladstone, and 
The Growth of Cities is not of that class. It has not been fused into 
a whole. It presents the results of the writer's efforts to inform himself, 
not of his deliberate, persistent efforts to convince his readers. He does 
not carry his subject easily, but is a little oppressed by its magnitude and 
complexity. It is, however, a good compend, not a book, but a source of 
material; the facts regarding city growth have been carefully brought to- 
gether and the statistical statements may be fully trusted. 

Walter F. Willcox. 

A History of the American Nation. By Andrew C. McLaughlin, 

Professor of American History in the University of Michigan. 

[Twentieth Century Series.] (New York : D. Appleton and 

Co. 1899. Pp. xiv, 587.) 

The propriety of teaching American history in the final year of sec- 
ondary schools is winning rapid assent ; but until lately a serious hind- 
rance to the introduction of the study has been the lack of suitable 
manuals. A new high-school book, therefore, and from Professor Mc- 
Laughlin, is a notable event \ and its appearance just now derives added 
significance from the author's services as chairman of the Committee of 
Seven on the Study of History in Schools. Scholarship and ability to 
tell a story we have a right to count upon always in the maker of such a 
text, but rarely indeed can we expect that pedagogical considerations will 
be weighed under auspices so propitious. 

But after all a text-book is an evolution, and even from the best